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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 133-134

Co-Editors' Notes 25:3

Co-editors, Education for Health

Date of Web Publication29-Mar-2013

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.109759

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How to cite this article:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 25:3. Educ Health 2012;25:133-4

How to cite this URL:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 25:3. Educ Health [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 May 28];25:133-4. Available from:

Education for Health seeks to support and disseminate the scholarly contributions of health professions educators around the globe. This issue reflects the journal's worldwide reach, with every continent* represented with a study report, program evaluation, review article, special communication, and/or practical advice paper. Authors are from an even mix of Western and nonWestern cultures and from developing and developed countries, sometimes collaboratively within the same paper. Here we provide an overview of their contributions.

Two papers in this issue assess regional cultural issues affecting medical education. Marambe et al., assess how medical students in Sri Lanka's University of Peradeniya view physicians' communication skills and its curriculum. Using the Communication Skills Attitude Scale developed in the United Kingdom, they find that nearly all students appreciate the value of good communication skills for physicians, nevertheless a sizable number of these Sri Lankan students find that communication skills training is hard to take seriously because it is not taught like a hard science. The second paper, by Damodar et al., analyzes comments from an on-line discussion of medical faculty from across India about the reasons that there is so little medical education research in Southeast Asia. The group felt that in their region education research is stymied because it is not widely valued, not required by regulatory bodies, and not rewarded within medical schools.

In a Special Communication, 'The Social Accountability of Medical Schools and its Indicators,' Boelen, Dharamsi and Gibbs review current directions and collaborative efforts in the social accountability movement for medical schools. They clarify key concepts and offer tools to help medical schools know how to become more socially accountable institutions. They explore the related but not synonymous concepts of social responsibility, social responsiveness, and social accountability, the latter being the most desirable for a school. In an appendix, they offer a detailed list of indicators that schools can use in setting specific, actionable objectives within numerous realms to increase social accountability.

Two papers address ways to better equip students with the skills to succeed as learners. Amorosa, Graham and Ratan present an assessment of a one-hour workshop that presents seven skills for effective learning to medical students of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. In immediate postcourse and later follow-up assessments, students reported greater use of all seven effective learning skills, including setting goals, asking for specific feedback, and reflection. In a second paper, Chaffey, Leeuw and Finnigan present findings of a literature review of the value and how to teach reflection and reflective practice to medical students. Perhaps most importantly, they find that the literature offers no consistent purpose or goal for reflective practice and that this then is a barrier to faculty teaching reflection and students learning it.

In two papers, innovative group problem solving heuristics are used with learners. Kumar and Chacko in India use Appreciative Inquiry to help medical students explore how knowing their learning styles helps them understand their past successes as learners and plan new strategies for future success in learning. Eymann et al., in Argentina use Open Space Technology, a group process developed initially for quality improvement, to learn residents' issues and suggestions for improving their residency training programs.

Evaluations of three curriculum innovations also appear in this issue. In Sudan, El Shallaly and Makki evaluate a computer-based clinical examination (CCE) to assess medical students' end of course knowledge and problem solving skills in surgery. They find that students' scores from the CCE were in-line with their other exam scores based on multiple choice questions and essays. Further, two-thirds of students recommended CCE use for tests in other disciplines. In the US, Hasnain et al., evaluate a learning experience implemented to help medical and pharmacy students together learn about health issues facing vulnerable populations and interprofessional teamwork. The curriculum involved readings, writing assignments, presentations, discussions, and a community immersion experience. Qualitative and quantitative program evaluation data from students indicated that they felt the curriculum helped them learn how to work collaboratively with another discipline to better understand and know how to address the special needs of patients from vulnerable groups in their community. And third, in a Letter to the Editor, Gosselink and de Man describe an educational experience at the Leiden University in the Netherlands to help medical students better understand and empathize with patients with psychiatric disorders. Students are asked to write two narratives from the perspective of an imaginary patient's point of view, to be accompanied by illustrations or photos and a brief movie fragment as a "scrapbook." Students felt that this experience helped them better understand and reduce the distance they felt with patients with psychiatric illnesses.

The four remaining papers of this issue address a range of topics important to practice and teaching in the health professions. Monajemi et al., in Iran and the Netherlands explore medical students' and residents' thought processes as they develop patient management plans. The researchers note a greater maturity of plans with level of training, with increasingly more management items and greater specificity to the patient's particular condition. Viksveen et al., from the United Kingdom and Norway present the views of educators of Homeopathy teaching in 10 European countries on what denotes a competent homeopath and how they should be educated. Jan van Dalen, an associate editor of Education for Health from the Netherlands, discusses the two principal ways faculty teach future doctors to communicate effectively with patients. In his regular "In the News" feature, van Dalen notes that medical educators typically either provide a list of "Do's and Don'ts'," which attempts to steer the content of the student's delivery, or set goals for the communication, such as clarifying the patient's reason for the visit and providing effective motivation for behavior change. Van Dalen concludes that both approaches in varying combinations can help students become better communicators. And in a Practical Advice paper, Sadaf, Khan and Ali at the Aga Khan University in Karachi outline for readers a step-by-step process by which multidisciplinary teams can develop and test multiple choice questions to validly assess student knowledge.

There is much to learn from these papers from health professions educator-scholars from around the world, to help make us better teachers.

Donald Pathman, M.D., M.P.H.

Michael Glasser, Ph.D.

Co-Editors, Education for Health


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